Posts Tagged ‘ Aoi Yu ’

Contemporary J-Actors/Actresses: Separating the “Actors” From the “Idols”

A characteristic issue in Japanese cinema today is the massive popularity of “idols,” controlled by talent agencies.  Idols, to me, are defined as multi-talented, young, cute, cuddly, and pure (appearance-wise) media sensations.  They often go through expansive, quick, and tough training brought about by their talent agency so they are ready to be worked to the bone doing various publicity stunts such as appearing on variety shows, looking good in photoshoots, acting in TV dramas, and possibly joining boy or girl idol bands.  The main draw of idols is how they look, not how they act or how well they sing.  Most of them have a very short span of popularity and often fall from glory once they age a bit.  There are, however, exceptions to this; notably the most famous guys coming out of the talent agency Johnny’s Entertainment.  SMAP, consisting of 5 members who are currently some of the most famous people in Japan, debuted in 1991 and continue to be mega-popular.  Arashi, again from Johnny’s Entertainment, is set up to remain popular for a while as well. Continue reading

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Great Scenes: “Ballet Scene” from Hana and Alice

Hana and Alice (花とアリス) is a comedic teenage romance film written, directed, and edited by Iwai Shunji (he also composed the music himself).  The story revolves around two best friends: Alice, played by Aoi Yu, and Hana, played by Suzuki Anne.  Hana falls in love with a boy, so naturally she stalks him.  One day, he hits his head on a garage door while walking and reading at the same time and obviously Hana is there right behind him.  She decides to pretend like he has amnesia and state that she is his girlfriend.  Alice is soon dragged into the elaborate story as the boy’s ex-girlfriend, but she falls in love with him as well and the story goes from there.  Hana and Alice is not only a comedy, it is very touching as well–particularly when examining the family life of Alice and her relationship with her father.  The film is uniquely filmed in typical Iwai Shunji fashion, employing hand held camera work and intimate angles.  I gave it 4.5/5 stars in my review, and it is definitely a recommended watch.

This scene moved me deeply.  Video after the break. Continue reading